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Revue of A Thousand Stars

Chapter Text

As the group entered the theater once more, the Stage Girls immediately went back to their seats.

But when Andrew went for his seat, Edward tugged Andrew’s arm, prompting the mole to notice it.

“Excuse me, Edward-ryuu,” Andrew said as he noticed Edward’s arm, “May I know why you’re grabbing my arm?”

“Andrew? Are you going to your seat yet?” Elle said, calling out her friend from her seat.

“Just a second, Miss Elle! I need to say something important to Andrew!” Edward said to Elle, “It won’t take long!”

As Elle went back to her seat, Andrew looked at Edward, wondering why he pulled him in the first place.

“A little reminder Andrew…. In the story that we’ll watch, there will be some scenes that are not suitable for Miss Elle,” Edward said to the mole, “I hope you wouldn’t mind shielding her from it…. Won’t you?”

Andrew immediately nodded to Edward, knowing that Elle can’t remember stories that are…. Not for her age.

“Sure thing, ryuu! I’ll make sure Elle won’t be traumatized during the story!” Andrew said in confidence.

As the mole made his way to his seat, the theater doors swung open, surprising some of the Stage Girls.

“Hi girls! Sorry if I’m late!” Johnny said as he made his way to the theater with a trolley full of food.

The Stage Girls all eye on the trolley as it is filled with various food and drinks, most notably, popcorn.

As Johnny begins to distribute their food, Karen becomes extra giddy since the next story could be more exciting like the first one.

“Oh! I can’t wait for the next story to be shown!” Karen said as Nana said to Karen, “I agree. I do hope that the next story will be a classic story.”

“In my case, I hope that the next story will star someone like me,” Kaoruko said with a grin.

“Of course, you’d say that,” Futaba said with a sigh.

After a while, Johnny distributed all the food and said his goodbye to the group, prompting the Stage Girls to bid him farewell.

With snacks in hand, Edward said to them with pride, “Ladies and Andrew, I welcome you once more to the theater as we engage with the tale of one of literature’s greatest folk heroes! Sit back, relax, and enjoy!”

And from it, the screen lights up, counting down from five to one, as it turns black.

All of a sudden, a guitar riff echoes throughout the theater, making the Stage Girls eyes’ look towards the screen.

Then, the screen lights up when another guitar riff plays again when suddenly, a figure wearing a hat walks along with the screen, fluttering his cape.

The figure stops in the middle, drawing his sword from his waist.

“What… Who’s that?” Mei Fan said with wonder.

“That cape…. That sword….” Karen thought to herself until she realized who that figure is, “No… No way!”

Suddenly, the figure slashed the screen into a Z, and as a jaguar growled, several scratches formed until it made another Z. And from it, the story’s title reveals itself.


“It’s Zorro!” Karen screamed with delight.

“Zorro?/Zorro!” some of the Stage Girls said in confusion and excitement.

“Zorro is the folk hero of Mexico! Defending the people against the vile Don Rafael!” Karen said with pride as Lalafin replied, “So he’s the hero of the story!”

“Heh… Never would’ve thought I’d see Zorro again,” Futaba said with a grin, “It made me recall how much I’ve been training Karen for the role!”

“Oh…. I can’t wait to see Zorro in action once again!” Karen said, giddy with excitement.

As the title fades, a paragraph reveals itself, saying:

“In 1821, Spain’s three-hundred-year domination of Mexico was about to come to an end. A people’s rebellion, led by General Santa Anna, spread from the arid mountains of the south to the rich and fertile northern province known as California. Peasants gathered in the streets, calling for the blood of the last Spanish governor, Don Rafael Montero. Although under orders to return to Spain, Montero refused to relinquish power without one final reckoning.”

While the paragraph shows itself, tapping sounds begin to echo throughout the theater from the screen.

“How interesting, I never thought that the story is set in a revolution,” Junna said in curiosity as Tamao said, “Whatever do you mean, Hoshimi-san?”

“If I recall correctly, our play in Zorro is set during Spain’s occupation of Mexico. It didn’t explain when but I assume this is before the revolution,” Nana said.

“So this means it could be Zorro’s last adventure!?” Karen said in shock, knowing that the story might end in an instant.

“Calm down, Miss Karen. I assure you that this won’t end swiftly,” Edward said to the brunette as Karen said, “You promise?”

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Edward said whilst holding his hand up.

Soon, the tapping becomes more rapid until a guitar strums.

Then, a knife pierced a piece of canvas, as it formed a triangle. The same knife pierced the same canvas until it stopped.

After a while, two fingers poke through the canvas, forming two holes as two eyes are looking through the hole.

“Who is that person?” Claudine wondered as the Stage Girls were a bit confused about who the person was.

“Come on, Alejandro! It is my turn!” said another boy who is trying to push Alejandro away.

“Let me see,” the boy said as he tried to pry Alejandro away from the holes.

“What’s with that boy!” Fumi said, crossing her arms in annoyance, “Isn’t he that patient enough to get his turn?”

“I mean, he is still a young boy so, there will be times that they would be impatient,” Shiori said to her sister.

As the two fought, the other boy was able to push Alejandro away. When the boy looked through the holes, it revealed an angry mob who were shouting for freedom. 

On another angle, a man was able to climb to the flagpole, tearing Spain’s flag from it.

Then, a woman who is with her child begins to sob as it is revealed that three men are to be executed.

When the girls saw the reason why the boys were looking through the holes, seeing that the mob wanted justice. They never even thought that they were witnessing an execution.

“Why are those men being executed!? Have they done something so horrible that they must die!?” Shiori said in horror.

“I think I know why they are being executed,” Junna said as she fixed her glasses, “Someone dragged those innocent men to be executed!”

“But, who? Who’s the one that ordered the execution?” Tamao said in worry, as the rest of the Stage Girls wondered who it was.

As the crowd is calling for justice, the guards are trying to contain them when one of them tries to attack them.

Fortunately, the guard dodged the attack and hit the man with his rifle. One of his fellow guards grabbed the man but when they shoved him, it pushed the brothers back across their hiding spot.

The Stage Girls winced at the boys since they got hurt by the guard’s harsh attitude towards one of the protesters.

“Ouch…. Shouldn’t the guard be careful though?” Rui said as Michiru replied, “Seeing how the guard didn’t notice them, I’d say he’s oblivious.”

Then, a middle-aged man opened the flap as he said to the boys, “Hey! What are you doing cutting holes in my wagon?”

The screen reveals the duo as Alejandro (Maya Tendo) and Joaquin look at the man in nervousness.

“I am sorry, Señor Lopez. We were just waiting for Zorro,” Joaquin said to the man.

The Seisho girls were shocked, seeing that a younger version of their classmates is featured in the story.

“I’ll be…..” Maya said in shock, “I’d never imagined being the first of our class to be in a story such as this.”

“Never thought you’d be surprised, Maya Tendo,” Claudine said to her rival as she replied, “By-the-by Edward-san, who is the boy next to Maya?”

“That would be Joaquin, your counterpart’s brother,” Edward said as the Stage Girls are even more curious about what Alejandro and Joaquin’s role would be in the story.

“But, even so. I liked that they’re hoping that Zorro will appear!” Lalafin said in confidence, hoping that the legend will save the men.

“Go home muchachos (boys),” Señor Lopez said as Alejandro said to him, “Do you think he is really going to come, Senor Lopez?”

“Someone thinks he will,” Señor Lopez said as he pointed something to the boys.

The brothers turned around, revealing that the coffin they were sitting on has the letter Z on it.

“Joaquin, Alejandro,” Lopez said to the boys as they turned back to him, “...once I carved coffins for your mother and father. I would hate to carve one for you.”

“He’s a coffin maker!?” Mahiru said in shock as the girls realized why Senor Lopez wanted the boys to leave immediately.

“And the worst part is that their parents are already dead,” Akira said somberly as some of the Stage Girls prayed for the brothers’ parents.

“Now, go!” Señor Lopez said to the boys as they exited the wagon.

One of the boys tipped a guard’s hat, forcing the guard to get him but was blocked by the crowd.

The boys made their way to the crowd when Father Felipe caught them and said, “Alejandro. Joaquin. This is no place for you.”

“Now get back to the mission,” Father Felipe said to the boys as he made them leave the crowd.

“Who’s that supposed to be?” Karen said in curiosity as Edward replied, “That’s Father Felipe, parish priest and the guardian of Joaquin and Alejandro.”

“So he’s the local priest,” Mei Fan said as Lalafin asked their host, “Edward-san, what does Father Felipe mean about a mission?”

“Oh, it’s simple. When Spain was colonizing parts of the Americas they set up houses called ‘missions’,” Edward said to the Stage Girls, “The reason why they’re called that is it’s where the Spanish missionaries stay to rest.”

“Very interesting,” Junna remarked on the interesting fact.

Then, Futaba Isurugi appeared from the balcony as the mob began to flock to her home. 

“Futaba-chan is that you!?” Mahiru said in shock as Kaoruko happily replied, “Oh my, Futaba-han! It looks like you’re in this story too!”

As the Stage Girls noticed Futaba’s counterpart’s attire, they saw that she was wearing a black coat with red and gold details. They also noticed that she was wearing a white cravat on her neck.

“I know right!” Futaba said with a grin, “Hey, Edward-san! Do you know what my role is!”

“In due time, Miss Futaba,” Edward said in a reminding tone, “It will be revealed later on.”

With a solemn look, Don Rafael looked at the crowd, filled with angry people who were crying for justice.

Suddenly, a group of men was riding along the streets as Alejandro and Joaquin noticed them approaching the villa.

“Come on!” Joaquin said to his brother as they moved out of the way.

The crowd immediately moved out of the way as one of them, a nearly bald man entered the villa.

As the bald man entered the place, almost everyone that he passed by was moving swiftly as they carried various items.

As Futaba sniffed something from a metal case, the bald man entered her room and said, “Don Montero, for the love of God, why are you still here?”

“Montero!?” said some of the Stage Girls as the Seisho girls realized what their classmate’s counterpart’s role was.

“Futaba’s Don Rafael!?” Karen said in shock as Futaba bluntly replied, “So…. I’m playing the bad guy, huh?”

“Now, that’s a surprise,” Nana said in surprise, “Who knew that the role Futaba-chan played on stage would also be the role of her counterpart.”

“What do you mean, Banana?” Lalafin said in curiosity.

“Back in the real world, I played as Don Rafael in our ‘Zorro’ play,” Futaba explained to the pink-haired Frontier student, “While I played Don Rafael, Karen here played Zorro.”

“Yup! It was a blast playing as Zorro!” Karen said in joy as Junna started to ponder.

Seeing her classmate’s counterpart as Don Rafael was the one thing that made Junna very suspicious of how Edward picked the Stage Girls who became a part of the stories he shares.

“Now, now, Don Luiz,” Rafael said to the don, “Calm, calm.”

“Santa Anna’s men are three miles from the town. You have to go, sir. Now.” Don Luiz said to his fellow don.

“Oh yeah, it’s set during the revolution,” Misora said as Tsukasa replied, “And if I recall, Don Rafael is the only don who hasn’t left for Spain since it’s been shown during the intro.”

“Got to admit, Don Rafael seems very calm about the fact that hundreds of those people wanted him out of their country,” Futaba said in fascination.

In their version of Zorro, Don Rafael is seen as a cunning and aggressive man who is hell-bent on capturing Zorro. In their final confrontation, he lets loose against his nemesis but is defeated in the end.

In this version, however, Don Rafael is seen as a cold and calculative man who isn’t afraid of doing anything just to get his hands on Zorro. It’s like a fresh breath of air for Futaba to see a villain that she portrayed to be seen in a different tone.

“The government of Spain would like to thank you for your devoted service,” Don Rafael said as Don Luiz looked at him in confusion.

As he placed his gloves on a table, he grabbed an envelope and opened it as he read its contents out loud, “This land is the property of the Spanish government.”

“And in two hours’ time, it will be the property of the Mexican government unless I hand them over to you,” Don Rafael said as he walked towards Don Luiz, “I am well acquainted with Santa Anna. He will realize that the dons will be dutiful taxpayers and he will respect your claims.”

When the girls heard Don Rafael’s plan, they were shocked that the Don knew about Santa Anna.

“Why are Don Rafael friends with Santa Anna? Shouldn’t he and Santa Anna be enemies?” Tamao said in confusion.

“I believe he made a deal with the enemy,” Akira said, “He must’ve convinced him that without the support of the other dons, the country would end up in bankruptcy.”

“And it will lead to another rebellion,” Junna said, making the rest of the Stage Girls understand why Don Rafael made a deal with Santa Anna, but for one Stage Girl, it made her a bit confused.

Lalafin thought that Santa Anna is one of the good guys since he was fighting for Mexico’s independence. But when she heard that he made a deal with Don Rafael just to balance the economy is something that she knows is bad. She tried to think about what alternative Santa Anna would do but eventually decided to not ponder more about it.

“The rest of Alta California I have divided up equally among the other dons. I trust that you will make sure that all of them receive their grants.” Don Rafael said to Don Luiz as he combed through the documents.

Don Rafael turned around and said to the guards below, “Get the children out of the plaza immediately.”

The guards immediately followed suit as they searched the crowd for any children who would witness the execution.

“The children should never have to see the things we do,” Don Rafael said to Don Luiz.

“On that notion, I agree,” Claudine said in reluctance, “No child should ever see those men die in front of them.”

But then, Alejandro is being carried out by an unknown man as he screams, “I want to see! Put me down!”

“Hey! Let him go!” Aruru said in anger as Karen replied, “Whoever you are you better let him go!”

The unknown man dropped Alejandro when he noticed the man’s boots when the man turned around.

Alejandro got up and looked at the man and shushed him, realizing that the man was Zorro (Karen Aijo)!

Soon enough, Karen screamed with joy that her counterpart is the legendary hero, Zorro.

“I’m playing Zorro! I’m playing Zorro!” Karen said with joy as Mahiru sighed in amusement.

Knowing Karen, she has always enjoyed playing various roles whether it be a side character or the main character. As long as she understands the character, Karen will always find joy in becoming that character on stage.

“Now, now, Karen-chan,” Nana said to the brunette, “Other people are watching the story so please keep it down a notch.”

“Sure thing, Nana-chan!” Karen said with a smile, “I can’t believe that the first time I’ll appear in a story would be Zorro! Oh….. Now I’m even more excited! ”

Zorro moved away from Alejandro as the boy found his brother, to share his excitement. Alejandro was able to find his brother and said to him, “I saw him. I saw Zorro!”

With joy, the brothers make their way to get a better view when suddenly, the execution is about to begin as Don Rafael nodded at the head guard.

“I forgot! The execution is about to start!” Mei Fan said in horror as some of the Stage Girls were hoping that Zorro would stop the execution.

The head guard proceeded to shout his orders as the marksmen ready their positions and began to march.

“Who are these men that you would risk your life to have them killed?” Don Luiz said to Don Rafael as he simply said, “Who are they? No idea! Three peasants pulled at random from the crowd.”

When Don Rafael said it, almost all of the Stage Girls were appalled at how cold-blooded Don Rafael is that cold-blooded.

“That monster! Does he have no conscience!” Fumi said in anger, “Futaba-san! Is the Don Rafael in your play that merciless!”

Futaba gritted her teeth as she replied, “No. There’s no way in hell that the Don Rafael in our play is that merciless!”

“Come on, Zorro! Please show up!” Karen said with pleading eyes.

Following the beat of the drum, the guards were marching to their places, when Alejandro and Joaquin made their way to the rooftops.

As the brothers watched from above, the guards stopped in their places. The head guard pulled out his saber as the guards ready their rifles.

“Where is he?” Alejandro said in confusion as the guards cocked their guns.

“Apuntar!” the head guard said, making the marksmen aim their rifles at the tied men.

But as the head guard readied his saber, a whip caught one of the guards’ rifles, making the rest of the guns fire at the head guard instead.

In confusion, the guards notice that Zorro has arrived, brandishing his saber at them as the crowd and the brothers shout with joy that their hero is here.

Soon enough, the theater roared in joy as  Zorro was able to redirect the guns to the head guard instead.

“Zorro saved them! Zorro stopped the execution!” Shiori said in amazement.

“Now that’s what I call an entrance!” Aruru said in amazement.

“Alright, Zorro! Show them what you can do!” Karen said with excitement.

Twirling his blade, the remaining guards charged at Zorro when the black fox jumped over them as he made his way to the platform.

“Go,” Don Rafael said to Don Luiz as he looked at his nemesis.

Zorro then proceeded to cut the tied men loose as he clashed his sword with the guards.

One of the guards tried to push Zorro aback but Zorro was able to push him back instead.

With the crowd going wild, Zorro clashed with the guards from the left and the right. No matter how many times that guards attacked, Zorro was able to fend them off.

With such finesse and confidence, the Stage Girls are in awe of Zorro’s swordsmanship, especially on how he’s able to keep up with the guards attacking him from each direction.

“Holy moly, this is insane!” Karen said with joy, “Zorro’s swordsmanship is amazing!”

“To think that he’s that fast,” Rui said in amazement, “His reaction speed must be insane!”

Futaba grinned in excitement, seeing how Karen’s counterpart was showing off. Seeing how Zorro is fending the guards by himself was the best. Heck, it might be even more amazing than Lady Arsenia’s fight against the pirates.

“Now I’m even more pumped to hone my swordplay!” Futaba said with amazement.

Then, Zorro cuts one of the wooden contraptions, making him fall off the platform.

One of the guards looked below to look for him but Zorro was able to move behind him and poked his butt with his sword as the guard fell off the platform.

The girls laugh at Zorro’s antics, seeing how he easily defeated one of the guards just by poking his butt.

“Who knew that poking someone’s butt with a sword would be instant defeat?” Misora said in a joking manner.

The guards noticed Zorro as they clashed with the black bandit while Don Rafael watched from the balcony.

Zorro took on another guard as he slashed him but then another guard tried to stab Zorro but was able to dodge it, making the blade pierce the wood instead.

Regaining his bearings, the guard charged at Zorro, but he was able to dodge it, as the guard went directly to the blade that was stuck on the wood.

The other guard tried to grab Zorro but ran into a pillory as the black bandit jumped over him, slamming the pillory shut.

The brothers cheered for Zorro as they shook their hands with glee.

“That is so cool!” Aruru and Karen said in unison.

“Very impressive,” Akira said with a smile, “He’s able to use his surroundings to his advantage.”

“Heh, heh, that’s Zorro in a nutshell,” Futaba said with a smile, “He’s one of the greatest heroes literature has ever existed.”

It then changed back into the plaza as Zorro clashed with two more guardsmen when suddenly, the brothers noticed that there were guards stationed on a tower.

“Come on,” Alejandro said to his brother when Don Rafael rings the bell, signaling the guards to fire at Zorro.

“Zorro, watch out!” Lalafin and Karen said in horror.

Zorro noticed the guards from the tower but then, the brothers pushed a statue from above the guards, making them jump for safety whilst crashing onto the wooden platforms below.

“Alright!” Lalafin said with twinkling eyes, “Good job you two!”

“Nice assist, Maya-chan!” Karen said with joy how Maya’s counterpart was able to save Zorro.

“Well done, Alejandro,” Maya said, thanking the brothers’ quick thinking.

The brothers waved at Zorro as he waved them back. The guards attack Zorro once more when Zorro slashed his sword over their heads as they dodged it.

The three guards slam their swords at Zorro, trying to break his stance. Suddenly, tomatoes fly through the air, hitting the guards’ back.

Thanks to the distraction, Zorro slipped away from the wagon as the guards were getting pelted by the crowd.

When Don Rafael sees it, he is fuming that his plan has immediately crumbled.

The Stage Girls all find it amazing that the crowd is helping Zorro. They thought that the crowds were cheering for Zorro and yet they were surprised that they were helping him.

“Wow! This is the best!” Karen said in delight.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I ever see a crowd who is helping their hero,” Claudine said with a smile, “Maybe we can try having an interactive audience if the school is willing to allow it.”

“That’s a good idea, Saijo-san!” Futaba said as the Seisho girls began to plan on making their proposal to the school.

“And on the bright side,” Yachiyo said with a grin, “Don Rafael’s plan’s in shambles.”

With the roar of the crowd, Zorro runs across the crowd filled with cheers and excitement. The guards tried to apprehend him but the crowd was overwhelming them to pass through.

While the brothers were throwing rocks at the guards, Zorro walked toward them and placed his hands on them, making them turn around to see their idol.

“My thanks to you gentleman,” Zorro said to the boys as he removed his necklace and placed it around Joaquin’s neck.  

“Hey, Maya!” Karen said, “How does it feel to be thanked by Zorro!”

Maya smiled at the brunette, seeing how her counterpart saved Zorro from his imminent doom.

“I find it as an honor, Saijo-san,” Maya said to Karen as the said girl was filled with pride.

“Now, if you will excuse me,” Zorro said to the boys, “I’m missing my own party.”

Zorro pats their cheeks as he makes his way to his nemesis, leaving the boys happy to meet their idol.

Zorro dropped to the tower as he walked on top of the gate. One of the guards tried to get a clear shot but was knocked down by one of the peasants.

Zorro used his whip on a branch, as he swung to another platform.

“Kill him!” Don Rafael said in anger.

“What’s the matter, Don Rafael?” Ichie said with a smug tone, “Mad that your plan has completely failed.”

“Ichie-chan!” Tamao said in shock, “Aren’t you rubbing more salt on the wound?”

“Nah, it’s fine, Tamao-san,” Futaba said in a calming tone, “Just be glad that Don Rafael is getting his comeuppance. He may have my face, but he’s not me.”

The guards who managed to get away from the crowd fired at Zorro, but unfortunately, Zorro was too fast, making all of their shots useless.

More guards tried to shoot Zorro but to no avail. As Zorro stood at the top of a church, the crowd chanted his name in repetition. The masked hero throws his whip on a flagpost, swinging across them.

“Zorro!” Father Felipe screamed with joy as Zorro grabbed another flagpole as he swung to the balcony. 

When Zorro landed on it, he brandished his sword at Don Rafael’s throat, making the Don quiver in fear.

The girls are in anticipation as Zorro has placed his blade on Don Rafael.

“Time’s up, Don Rafael!” Karen said in confidence.

“The great Zorro has defeated you once again!” Lalafin said in a dramatic tone.

“You would murder three innocent men just to capture me?” Zorro said to Don Rafael.

“I would murder a hundred innocent men if it meant killing you,” Don Rafael said in anger.

Zorro proceeded to give Don Rafael a parting gift; a Z-marked scar on his throat, as the don grits in pain.

The girls winced at Don Rafael, seeing how Zorro branded his signature through his sword.

“How’s that for a parting gift, Don Rafael!” Karen said with joy.

“Oh, man,” Futaba said while rubbing her neck, “I think I felt that.”

“Don’t be such a baby, Futaba-han,” Kaoruko said to her friend, “It’s not like you’re on the receiving end of it.”

Futaba looked at Kaoruko and chuckled at her remark, “Yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t let that get to me.”

“Three men, three cuts,” Zorro said to his nemesis, “A small memento of Mexico, Rafael, to remind you to not return.” 

Then, Zorro whistled loudly as his horse, Tornado, appeared below the balcony as he neighed with grace.

“It’s Tornado!” Karen said with joy as Aruru happily replied, “Is that Zorro’s horse!” 

“That’s right! Tornado is Zorro’s magnificent and loyal partner!” Karen said to the blonde, “He also saved Zorro on multiple occasions when I’m reading about his adventures!!”

“But enough about that! Tornado’s a black Andalusian!” Shiori said with glee as she saw a beautiful horse.

“An Andalusian?” Mei Fan said in curiosity as Frau Jade said to her, “An Andalusian is one of the best horses in the Equestrian sport! I never would’ve imagined that a black Andalusian would appear!”

Zorro then jumped off the balcony, landing on Tornado as the great steed galloped across the streets.

As the crowd followed their hero, Padre Felipe cheered for his hero when a guard was ready to fire at Zorro. Luckily, Padre Felipe bashed him with his elbow, knocking him out.

The girls chuckle at Padre Felipe that despite being a man of peace, he proceeded to bash the guard’s face with his elbow.

“Who knew priests like him can pack a punch?” Futaba said in a joking manner.

With Zorro’s victory, the brothers watch their hero ride the church’s steps as Tornado raised itself with Zorro waving his saber as a sign of his great triumph.

As Zorro raised his saber on high, Karen, Aruru, and Lalafin shouted with joy, seeing that the heroic Zorro had saved the day.

“Hurray for Zorro!” Karen, Aruru and Lalafin said in unison.

The brothers shouted with joy as their hero galloped into the sunset. Sitting down, Alejandro examined the necklace, showing that it is a silver medallion with a small red stone on the center.

When the girls took a close look at the medallion, it made them fascinated by its design. 

“What a beautiful medallion,” Yachiyo said, “I love how each of the medallion’s circles keeps on getting smaller, leading it up to the ruby.”

“I agree,” Junna said in agreement, “I’m very curious about how it was even made. It must’ve taken hours for its creation.”

While Alejandro smiled with his brother, the scene changed into a beautiful villa off of a cliff. It also showed a waterfall and a plantation as the villa sits near it.

It was there that Zorro passed through a cave near the waterfall, revealing it to be his hideout as he gestured Tornado to stop.

When the girls saw the cave, they were surprised at how it was easily hidden. 

“That’s Zorro’s lair!?” Aruru said in amazement as Karen replied, “This must be where Zorro trained himself to become a hero!”

Zorro proceeded to get off of Tornado as he said to his steed, “Tornado, my old friend…. You’re getting too old for this.” 

Tornado neighed at his master as Zorro replied, “Yes, me too.”

“Aw, that’s so cute!” Shiori said with glee, making her remember the times she patted her horse after a good ride around the estate.

The scene changed into a fireplace as it suddenly opened, revealing Zorro who is now Don Diego de la Vega wearing a white shirt with a black vest.

“Everyone, meet Don Diego de la Vega, Spanish don and the man behind Zorro,” Edward said to the Stage Girls.

“Ah, yes, Don Diego,” Junna said with a smile, “That was Zorro’s real name whenever he’s not wearing the mask.” 

“Also,” Claudine said, “He is a generous don who is very helpful to the people of Mexico whenever he’s not Zorro.”

Upon hearing info about Don Diego, the rest of the Stage Girls now see the reason why Don Diego became Zorro. To protect Mexico from the other greedy dons whenever Don Diego can't.

Don Diego walked towards a room, revealing a baby and a maid with black hair.

“Is she warm enough?” Diego said to the woman in Spanish.

“I always put on an extra blanket for you, Señor,” the woman said as she left the room, leaving Don Diego to kiss the baby and begin to caress it.

When the girls saw the baby, some of them cooed in delight at the adorable infant.

“What a cutie! Whose baby is that!” Ichie said with glee.

Edward smirked as he replied to the Stage Girls, “That would be Don Diego’s daughter.”

The girls were surprised that the baby was Don Diego’s. But the more surprised one was Karen. She never imagined her counterpart would have a child.

“That’s… That’s Don Diego’s daughter….” Karen said, speechless of Don Diego’s baby girl.

Then, the scene changed back to the outside of the estate where a woman is seen looking at the sunset.

When she noticed movement from the mansion, she immediately raced to it with a smile.

“Assuming that Don Diego has a son, would that woman be Don Diego’s wife?” Junna said with curiosity.

“How very astute of you Miss Hoshimi,” Edward said with a smile, “Yes, that woman is Don Diego’s wife.”

“So that’s his wife…” Karen said with a smile seeing how Don Diego has found the love of his life. Maybe that’s another reason why the don retired from being Zorro.

Then, it changed back into the baby’s room as Don Diego regaled his daughter with his latest adventure.

“But the good prince was not afraid of the evil king,” Don Diego said, waving a bouquet like a sword, “He raced across the drawbridge, fighting off a hundred guards.”

“And then, looking very handsome and dashing in the late afternoon sun..” Don Diego said with pride as his baby happily giggled, “...He leapt onto the balcony and thrust his enchanted sword under the king’s chin.”

The girls chuckled at Don Diego, seeing how he’s telling his final adventure to his daughter.

“I always knew Karen would be a good storyteller,” Mahiru said with a smile.

“Do you mean it Mahiru-chan!” Karen said to her roommate, prompting Mahiru to reply, “Yes… I do mean it!”

Karen immediately hugged her and said, “Thank you for saying that, Mahiru-chan!”

“You’re welcome, Karen. You’re welcome,” Mahiru said while being hugged by the brunette.

“‘You would kill three innocent men,’ he demanded, ‘just to capture me?’ ‘Yes’” Don Diego said to his daughter as he pulled the bouquet away.

“Then suddenly, lightning flashed and a mighty thunder shocked the wasted land. And the evil king glared at the good prince and said-” Don Diego said to his daughter when turned around and saw his wife with a smile.

“Something forgettable,” Don Diego said to his wife.

The girls laughed at the scene as Kaoruko replied, “Sorry Don Diego, the story’s over!”

“But I want to know what evil king said…..” Ichie playfully said to Kaoruko.

“And the good prince? What did he do?” Don Diego’s wife said to him.

“Well, he leapt from the balcony onto his faithful old steed Tornado and…” Don Diego said to his wife, “...raced home to his beautiful wife Esperanza… and to his little child, Elena… never to do anything so foolish or dangerous again.”

“A very good reason indeed,” Mei Fan said with a smile.

“So that’s why he retired,” Tamao said, “It’s not about Mexico’s independence but… it’s for the sake of his new family.”

“I guess…. It truly was Zorro’s last ride….” Karen said in a somber voice. Seeing how Don Diego lay his sword and cape for his family was a very good choice.

“She loves to hear your stories,” Esperanza said to her husband.

“Oh, it’s only the sound of my voice,” Don Diego said, “One day she’ll have no time for them.”

“I never tire of them. Why should she?” Esperanza said to Diego, leaving him to walk towards his wife.

“Esperanza…” Don Diego said, kissing his wife with passion.

Soon enough, some of the girls such as Shiori blushed at Don Diego’s kiss with his wife.

“Oh my…” Shiori said whilst blushing.

“Wel, uh… I won’t lie but… She is his wife after all…” Tamao said, trying to maintain her composure after seeing the kiss.

“She has your strength,” Esperanza said as the don replied, “Uh-huh.”

“Today she broke the little clay horse you made for her,” Esperanza said, leaving her husband to chuckle.

“Diego…” Esperanza said to the don when she touched his arm, triggering the injury that he sustained a while ago.

  “I forgot!” Junna said, startling some of her classmates.

“What’s the matter Junna?” Nana said to her classmate as she replied, “Zorro must’ve sustained an injury a while back.”

“But on the bright side! He won’t have to take any more injuries since he’s finally retired!” Karen said with a smile.

“It’s just a scratch. It’s alright,” Diego said, reassuring his wife.

“Diego, you promised me,” Esperanza said in a scolding manner.

“I know.”

“No more nights waiting up, praying you’ll come home alive,” Esperanza said with worry.

The girls all understand why Esperanza wanted Diego to retire. She’s worried that she might end up seeing her beloved husband die due to his occupation. But now, Don Diego hung his cape and sword so that he may enjoy his life as a family man.

“I’m just glad Don Diego finally stopped making his wife worry,” Shiori said with a smile.

“I agree,” Shizuha said 

“The Spaniards are going home,” Don Diego said to Esperanza, “From now on, we’ll grow old together with our five children.”

Esperanza giggled at Don Diego’s answer and said, “Five?”

“Yeah,” Don Diego joked, “Not enough?”

“I love you,” Esperanza replied as the two of them kissed ever passionately.

Once again, some of the girls blushed at how passionate the two of them kissed, especially Karen. She always thought of kissing scenes as all just part of the stories such as these. But seeing her other self do it more intensely made her blush madly.

“How I wish I was Don Diego’s wife…” Mahiru thought with a sigh. If there’s one thing that she could do before graduating is to at least have a kiss scene with Karen onstage.

The two lovers still kiss each other until a click of a gun is heard, prompting Esperanza to break away from their kiss, as it revealed Don Rafael and a group of guards at their doorstep.

“Wha- What are they doing there!?” Rui said in shock.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this….” Mei Fan said with worry.

“Doña de la Vega, still as beautiful as ever,” Don Rafael said with respect.

“Don Rafael, what an honor!” Don Diego said with pride, “The governor in my home. You will stay for dinner, of course.”

“I have to come to apologize, Esperanza,” Don Rafael said to her, “I’m sorry that I could not protect this country from the peasants who have overrun it.”

“I’m sorry that I couldn’t make you love me,” Don Rafael continued with his apology, “And I’m sorry that I have to leave you without a husband.”

“Arrest him,” Don Rafael said as the guards began to march towards them.

“Wait, what!?” said some of the girls.

“Why would Don Rafael have Don Diego arrested!?” Lalafin said in shock.

“He wouldn’t be able to arrest him unless…..” Junna said until she came to realize why, “Oh no!”

Esperanza tried to protect her husband but the don pushed her away as the guards grabbed both of his arms.

Then, Rafael proceeded to grab Diego’s left arm as the don gritted in pain. 

Rafael observed the blood on his hands and said, “Blood never lies… Zorro.”

Soon enough Karen’s heart dropped, horrified that Don Rafael figured out Zorro’s identity.

“How…..” Karen said with a trembling voice, “How is it possible!?”

“It’s her injury,” Akira stoically said, “Rafael noticed that Zorro was injured the last time he saw him in action.”

“And since he noticed that Don Diego isn’t leaving the country, he assumed that he’s the only man who could be the masked hero,” Maya said in a serious tone.

“Oh no… This is terrible!” Lalafin said in horror. 

“You’re a traitor to your country and your class,” Don Rafael said to his nemesis, “Take him away.”

The guards were about to take the don when Esperanza pushed one of them to the ground, prompting the don to knock the other one and grab the guard’s sword, and pushed him as well. 

“Alright, Zorro! Now take him out!” Futaba said with a smile.

“Come on Zorro! Beat him to the ground!” Karen said with determination.

Don Diego jumped onto Rafael as the two clashed their blades. The guards immediately aim their guns when the head guard told them, “Wait!”

Diego tried to overpower Rafael but the ex-governor pushed him back. Rafael attempted to stab Diego when the former parried it.

In frustration, Rafael tried to slash him but Don Diego countered it and throw Rafael onto a wall. The two men stare at each other, ready to finish this duel.

Once again, the girls are on their seats as the duel continued with the two dons.

“Come on Zorro….” Karen said with worry.

“Win this one, Zorro! For your family and Mexico once more!” Lalafin said with a smile.

Diego goes on the offensive as he was able to put Rafael against the wall. With great precision, Diego poked Rafael’s neck when one of the guards fired at the wall, allowing Rafael to slide his sword on Diego’s chest. 

Seeing how Rafael was able to hurt Zorro, Karen gripped her armrests in suspense, hoping that Diego will be able to win the duel.

Soon enough, Elena begins to cry due to the clashing of blades as Rafael and Diego continued their fight. 

Suddenly, Rafael cut one of the candles as it landed onto the tablecloth, setting it on fire.

“No!” Esperanza cried out when the head guard planned to shoot her husband.

“No!” Rafael cried in horror when Esperanza went for Diego as the bullet hit her instead.

The theater became silent as Esperanza sacrificed her life in exchange for her husband’s.

Karen dropped to her knees, shocked beyond belief. She always knew that they were looking at their alternate selves but…. When she saw her other self’s wife die in front of her, it was unbearable.

“What have you done….” Karen said in agony, “What have you done!?”

“Karen…” Mahiru sadly said. She knew what Karen is going through. Ever since she almost lost Hikari, Karen has been a bit clingy with her classmates. Although they might think it’s weird, Mahiru’s the only one who believes that Karen might be going through something terrible.

As for the rest of the Stage Girls, all of them pay their respects to Esperanza for being a loving wife who is willing to sacrifice herself to save her husband.

As Diego tried to keep his wife alive, Rafael went to the head guard and stabbed him with his sword.

“Too late for that, Don Rafael,” Futaba said in anger, “Killing him won’t bring Esperanza back.”

“I’m afraid so, Isurugi-san,” Maya said in a sad tone.

Don Diego tried to save his wife but to no avail. With the last of her strength disappearing, Esperanza’s arm drops to the floor.

Rafael looked at what he’s done as Diego looked at him with tears flowing through his face.

“I would never have let any harm come to her,” Rafael said to Don Diego.

“She was never yours to protect,” Diego rebutted to Rafael.

It was from that statement that the Stage Girls fully realize why Rafael has been obsessed with Esperanza. Although she chose Don Diego in the end, Rafael created this obsession that Esperanza should’ve been hers.

“He’s right! Don’t you dare say that you own her!” Karen said with anger, “She made her choice when she married Don Diego!”

“Yeah! Don’t treat her that she still loves you!” Aruru said in agreement.

As the two men looked at each other, Elena’s cry echoed throughout the villa made Don Diego said, “Elena…”

Diego rushed towards the crib when Rafael bashed him from behind with the sword’s hilt.

“Zorro, no!” Karen said in horror as Rafael dropped to the floor.

“You bastard! That was a cheap shot!” Futaba angrily said, seeing that her counterpart ended the duel with a smash to the head.

Rafael turned Don Diego around, dazed from the hit as he said to him, “I want you to live… with the knowledge you have lost everything you hold dear. I want you to suffer as I have suffered… knowing that your child should have been mine.”

Don Diego fainted as the scene changed outside with the rain heavily pouring when suddenly, lightning crackled through the sky, waking Don Diego up.

In horror, he looked at the burning villa and screamed, “Elena!”

The theater’s atmosphere immediately dropped as the girls were horrified by what has happened. Some of the girls begin to cry while the rest looked away. But the one who was affected the most was Karen and Lalafin.

Lalafin cried onto Shizuha of Don Diego’s crushing defeat. Sometimes, she has seen villains beat the hero but in this case, it was one of the most painful moments that she’s ever witnessed.

“Monster! Monster!” Karen screamed repeatedly about what Rafael has done to Don Diego’s family.

Diego tried to shake the bars but to no avail. In frustration, Don Diego looked at the burning villa when Rafael emerged from it, revealing that he brought Elena with him in his arms.

Soon enough, every single Stage Girl was in shock and relieved that Rafael saved Elena from the burning villa.

“Wha…. Why did he save her!?” Tamao said in shock.

“I don’t know Tamao san,” Junna said while fixing her glasses, “But I’m glad Don Rafael isn’t as heartless as I thought.”

Don Diego immediately reached his arms and said, “Let me hold her.”

Rafael only looked at his nemesis as Diego said to him, “Let me hold her!”

“Rafael!” Diego angrily said to him, only for him to be met with a smile.

“She has her mother’s eyes,” Rafael said to Diego with a smile.

But after a few moments, Rafael immediately covered the child and made his way to the horses.

What Rafael did to Don Diego was the final straw for Karen. Seeing how Rafael not only burned Don Diego’s home but also chose to take his child and raise it as his own was absolute disrespect. She already accepted that Diego lost but for Rafael to rub it in is the worst.

“You monster! Why won’t you let him hold his child!?” Karen said in anger, “Do you have any idea that this would be the last time he’ll see her!?”

“You won’t get away with this Rafael! You hear me!” Lalafin replied in anger, “You’re going to pay!”

Diego looked from his cell and declared to his nemesis, “Rafael! You’ll never get rid of me!”

The cart immediately moved away from the smoldering villa as Diego shouted, “RAFAEL!!”

As the screen turned black, the rest of the Stage Girls are stunned by what happened to Don Diego. They all thought that the don will stay retired but they never imagined that Rafael would not only figure out his secret identity but destroyed his entire life completely.

“Is… Is this how the story ends!?” Tamao said in horror, as Edward stifled his laughter.

“You’re completely wrong Ms. Tamao,” Edward said to the Rinmeikan leader, “It’s not the end but…. The beginning.”